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A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the Pga Tour Hardcover – June, 1995

3.9 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One of Mark Twain's wryer observations provides the title for this captivating chronicle of a year in the life of the best golfers on the planet. Rich in the inherent drama and tension of competition, and filled with irony, humor, color, and personal detail, John Feinstein's A Good Walk Spoiled ambles beyond fairways and greens into an often-powerful examination of the pressures tour pros--from established stars such as Greg Norman and Nick Price to those constantly on the bubble--carry in their bags, and the elusive search for perfection in their games that keeps these remarkable athletes so focused and driven.

From Publishers Weekly

To Mark Twain, golf was "a good walk spoiled," but to the 200 or so top professional players, it is a sometimes lucrative but always nerve-wracking career in which this week's hero can be next week's bum, and in which athletes have only themselves to blame if they fail. Feinstein's (A Season on the Brink) lively and anecdotal style makes for an interesting read but cannot overcome the 1990s' objection to the sport?that there is no superstar of the stature of Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus to capture the public's fancy. So although there are media favorites such as Greg Norman, there are many outstanding players (Davis Love III, Paul Azinger) whom Feinstein brings to life here but who fail to generate the excitement of the greats. Feinstein, kind and upbeat, also points out that, almost without exception, golfers share a political viewpoint that is far to the right of Rush Limbaugh, with much self-pity for the taxes they have to pay on their six-and seven-figure incomes. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 475 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T); 1st edition (June 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316277207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316277204
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Feinstein spent years on the staff at the Washington Post, as well as writing for Sports Illustrated and the National Sports Daily. He is a commentator on NPRs "Morning Edition," a regular on ESPNs "The Sports Reporters" and a visiting professor of journalism at Duke University.His first book, A Season on the Brink, is the bestselling sports book of all time. His first book for younger readers, Last Shot, was a bestseller.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought this book for a friend of mine. And in a weak moment (no books to read in the house) I picked A Good Walk Spoiled up. I had anticipated being bored to death... as I am not a golfer and pretty much golf illiterate. What I found was a whole new world I had been missing... and honestly confused by. I have many golfing friends and I never understood what the fascination was all about. From the time Feinstein described Davis Love's urge to throw up in the first few pages... I was hooked and not due to my attraction to regurgitation. The actual angst these guys put themselves through was amazing to read about. Their home lives and what inspired them to live on the road 40 some weeks out of the year in search of that elusive hole in one made me appreciate the sport in a new way. 500 pages later I was surprised not only that I had hung in there but also that I throughly enjoyed the experience. I contribute my positive trip into golf land to Mr. Feinsteins clever turn o'phrase.
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Format: Paperback
Yet another offering from the uber-prolific John Feinstein. He works a continuous three-sport cycle of topics amongst his growing body of work: golf, tennis, and basketball. In my mind, nothing will ever top "Season on the Brink," his seminal work on the mad genius of Bob Knight. But, his golf work is great, too.
I had read Feistein's 'The Majors' before this...and while I do think it is the better read, 'Good Walk' is definitely worth your time. Its publishers obviously think so as well. Almost 10 years after its original publication, you can still find it prominently placed in most airports across the country. If you like golf, its the perfect read for the plane.
The only reason I rank 'the Majors' higher is not due to the quality of the effort, but rather due to its relevancy. Tiger Woods is still two years away from the PGA Tour as the events of 'Good Walk' unfold. As a result, it feels like a quaint period piece. Tom Kite battling Tom Watson, things like that. Interesting, but nothing like what the tour is like these days. In 'The Majors,' although Woods goes 0-for-4 in the 1998 events covered by Feinstein, his presence hangs over every page in the book (indeed, as 'The Majors' was being published in hardback, Woods begins his 'Tiger Slam').
Feinstein's writing style is so fluid. It's enviable. I love his little five-minute chats with Bob Edwards on NPR each Monday morning. He writes just like he talks. No small achievement. We should all be so talented. It's just the right mixture of inside info and folksiness.
Here's a good idea: Interweave some of Feinstein's books with the sports efforts from David Halberstam. It's a great combination. Each of them really knows how to profile sports stars.
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Format: Paperback
I have trouble sympathizing with the reader who complained of this book's length. Though it is true that you can't judge a book by its cover, you certainly can tell how thick it is! In my opinion, 500 pages was too few. I could have handled that many more, Fienstien comes close to capturing the essence of the mystery of golf ... and why so many of us are captivated by this frustrating little sport.
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Format: Paperback
As I read this very enjoyable book, I felt more like I was listening to a conversation than reading a book. It almost feels like "Did I ever tell you about the time I was playing with Greg Norman, and he..." Feinstein has access to places and people that most golf fans never will, and as such, he has boatloads of great stories about the events and players of the PGA Tour (and the PGA wannabes). Feinstein is great at collecting and telling the stories, particularly the character-revealing ones. For that, the book is wonderful. Specifically, I felt I was in Davis Love's quaking shoes while he was "throwing up on himself" at the Ryder Cup. Feinstein tells the story so well, the reader feels part of the action.
At the same time, I couldn't help but think that the book was poorly organized. Feinstein makes some effort to put the contents into a unified semi-chronological tale, but he fails in that. Most of the events or people that he writes about require going back to cover background info on what set up that situation, or how that player got where he is now. The backgrounding leads to a lot of de-synchronization (? -- throwing off the timeline?) in the book. Many of the background information is also great and enjoyable storytelling, but given the chronological organization of the book, it was hard for me to keep the events straight -- which came first, which story had later impact on what, which ones overlap (two stories about two players at the same event, for example).
There's also a lot of jumping from discussions of one player to another. This works fine for the well known players, but not so well when the reader is trying to remember which of the Q-school players is which. Still, in thinking about it, I couldn't think of a better way to organize it.
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Format: Paperback
I am a very poor golfer, if I break 100 I am a happy man. however I do enjoy the game (I am still trying to figure out why). This book takes you trough about a year and a half of life in the professional golf world. Through all levels of the game, the PGA Tour, the Senior Tour, The Nike Tour and Q-School. Through reading this book you learn what a world class golfer must go through to be that good. Realize that in golf, there are no home games so that means enormous amounts of time away from family. Also, golfers have to work everyday to maintain that edge. This is such a tight knit group that competitors will actually give pointers to each other during practice. It was a well written piece that shed a lot of light on a world most of us will never see. However the only reason this book does not receive a 5 is that by page 400 I found myself thinking "If I have to read about one more chip shot, I'm gonna scream." Anyway if you have any interest in the PGA tour, or golf in general, this book is well worth your time.
Thanx T
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